Couple to visit most of planet on 424 day tour

Darren and Sandy Van Soye, a couple from Southern California, have started on a global adventure to raise awareness about world geography and make the subject more accessible to children. Visiting fifty countries on six continents in 424 days, they will share the journey with more than 700 classrooms representing 50,000 students.

“Our dream is to educate children about geography and world cultures so we’ve planned the ultimate trek around the world to do just that,” said Sandy Van Soye.

Chronicling the journey on their TrekkingthePlanet web site, they were inspired to plan the year+ trip after experiencing first-hand the positive impact of a previous family journey around the globe. Traveling a total of 12 legs by rail, bus, air and ship, they plan to see some of the most remote and unspoiled places in the world, by visiting sites of cultural and natural significance, to instill a greater awareness and curiosity about Earth geography in as many people as possible.

To make efficient use of their time and set an eco-friendly travel example, several legs of the journey will be traveled using Princess cruise ships.

“We wanted to use cruise ships as part of our travel method because they offer an efficient way to reach all the different stops on our voyage while minimizing our global footprint,” said Sandy in a statement.

Their full at-sea travel itinerary incorporates five different Princess Cruises voyages, totaling 96 days sea. Both the first and last legs of their journey, plus three legs in between, will be aboard a Princess cruise ship.
“We frequently hear stories from travelers who cruise to accomplish a goal – from celebrating milestones with family members to crossing something off their bucket list,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Sandy and Darren are a great example of how cruise travel can be both relaxing and rewarding. We’re inspired by their story and we’re honored they’ve chosen Princess to help them achieve their trekking goals.”

Their full 424-day itinerary is available on their web site, where they will be journaling their trip and fans can also follow them on Facebook.

The Van Soyes will complete their global journey in March 2013.

Flickr photo by epitomized1

Around the world in 65 days on green sea-monster

“Holy crap!” was my first reaction when I saw this sensational picture of Earthrace, the world’s first 100% bio-diesel power boat that will circumnavigate the world early next year.

Built at a cost of $3 million by New-Zealand skipper Pete Bethune, if it manages this undertaking in under 75 days (the previous record held by a British boat called Cable and Wireless in 1998), it will be the first time this has been done using 100% renewable fuel. Their target is to complete the route in 65 days.

Earthrace’s environmental objective is to spread the vision of a world that uses sustainable resources (e.g. bio-fuels) by demonstrating the power, reliability and safety of bio-diesel so as to prove it as a viable alternative to petroleum diesel.

With it’s special design and engineering, the boat is one of the fastest and greenest boats on the planet that will be covering a distance of 24,000 nautical miles, making the feat the world’s longest race.

The boat is low emission, non-toxic, antifoul and as an efficient hull design. The graphics on the boat are done by a Maori tattoo artist and the symbols represent the environment and the positive/negative influence of human interaction with the environment.

Earthrace is currently on a promotional tour in Europe where you can get up-close-and-personal with the boat and attend environmental education lectures in schools. The boat will begin it’s adventure from Valencia on March 1, 2008.

[Via Telegraph: Earthrace — the green machine]

The World Tour Compatibility Test

We all know that travel can often serve as a good test of a relationship. Here’s a couple that set out to see what would happen to them after taking to the road together. Over at Memoirville, a place where writers can test out their true-life stories, I came across the World Tour Compatibility Test, defined as, “Part travelogue and part convoluted love story…a series of true stories set in exotic locales, as two American writers decide whether to break up or move in together.”

After only two months of dating, Elizabeth Koch, Executive Editor of Opium Magazine and Todd Zuniga, her boyfriend and co-editor, planned a 5-week trip they dubbed “The Opium World Tour.” Their travels took them first to China, then Japan. There were additional destinations after that, but those chapters have not yet been revealed. (A clever way to hook you into wanting to buy the book when it comes out, huh?)

The writing is fresh, funny, heartbreaking…so you may just get hooked. But then you’ll be left hanging with the rest of us. Do they split the rent or split up? As Elizabeth explains, “The ending isn’t happy, but it’s not sad. It’s complicated. Realistic.” Elizabeth began sharing her work-in-progress memoir on December 1, 2006. The tenth and final installment of the story (so far) was posted on May 3, 2007. It’s easy to follow along on the Memoirville website.